You might be familiar with a pain that runs along the front of your shin. This is the anterior tibialis muscle and if you neglect the pain you feel, it will worsen. Most commonly, we feel a pain in the front of our lower leg, right over the shin bone. Sometimes this pain fades and we can continue to run or do our workouts, but it can progress to much more pain over time.
How do you know it is an Anterior Tibialis injury?
The first thing that you want to do is to rule out the simple fixes. Check to make sure that your shoe laces are not too tight. If they are, you will have wanted to loosen those and adjust them to a comfortable fit. If your laces are too tight, you will experience what is called a “lace bite,” which will mimic that anterior tibialis pain.
The other two injuries that you will want to rule out are far more serious. First being a tibial stress fracture – this will act to pull the crack in the bone apart, causing prolonged healing. This pain is sharp, localized, and painful to a push. If you have this type of pain, specific to the bone, you will want to go see your doctor for an MRI. Another injury that you will want to rule out is compartment syndrome. If you have persistent muscular pain on the outside of your shin, followed with numbness, tingling, and coldness, you will want to see a doctor.
How can you reduce anterior tibialis stress?
Reducing the stress places on your anterior tibialis is actually fairly easy. If you notice the sound of your foot slapping against the ground very loudly when you run, you will want to make the heel-strike less prominent. Wearing shoes with lower heal-to-toe drop and running on a softer surface will help to take away some of the stress places on the anterior tibialis. It is important to make sure that you are not feeling pain day to day or week to week. If you are feeling persistent pain, you will want to back off of your running.
The Take Away!
The bottom line here is to rule out the major injuries associated with the anterior tibialis. Once you have ruled out the major injuries, you can deal with tendonitis or strain by reducing the stress on the anterior tibialis. You can reduce the stress in one of two ways: wearing lower heel shoes and sticking to softer surfaces when running. Another option to aid the recovery of this type of pain/strain is to use kinesiology tape or compression over the area.
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